Friday, 11 December 2015

Missing advent doors

December crept up on me. I had no idea that November had ended some time ago. I live in a bubble over here in Spain and all the days roll into one. I didn't get an advent calender, or know anyone else who has one and this hasn't helped matters. No talk of Christmas shopping here - the Spanish don't appear to regard the event as a commercial opportunity. A few baby Jesus' printed on shrouds dangle from balconies but that is about all. I only realised it was December after a double bank holiday this week - celebrating Constitution Day and Mary's Immaculate Conception.  I was left in a state of shock - is 2015 really wrapping up? Gosh. Stunned, I have decided to do what I normally do at the end of the year; panic, go over everything I have done to date and then tie up all loose ends (in the studio, hall, sitting room and kitchen) in a futile attempt to remedy the state of panic... 

Kitchen based tying involves me helping mum tie the string on our homemade Christmas pudding. Hall tying involves untying the wiry, white, fairy lights, Sittingroom tying requires a much needed spell of restringing on all of our Christmas baubel's and the studio? Well that doesn't really involve any thread-like products. In the studio I have just worked out that I could actually take a wad of paintings back for scanning in January if I pull my finger out and get on with some work. With this in mind I have put my dried leaves, including the massive leaf, to one side while I get on with these other pieces. I am having to use photographs for some subjects and with the Artichoke leaf (Cynara cardunculus var. scolymus) I am using a combination, which is what I tend to do towards the end of a painting (when I am painting anything that is 'alive'). There's still a field of green globe artichokes at the back of my studio, which, with the absence of a '¡Peligroso!' sign looked more inviting for a pick on one of my most recent walks.

Artichoke Leaf - botanical art
After 'weaving' basal layers all over the Artichoke leaf painting and putting in the darkest bits, I appear to now work in large sections across the leaf. This is a new thing - I didn't do this before. It began with my first Catalpa leaf and I liked this method of working so much I have stuck with it.

Artichoke Leaf - botanical art
Artichoke Leaf (Cynara cardunculus var. scolymus)
Not the whole leaf, but the better 'side' of it as the bottom section is still pretty drafted out.
Talking of walks... whilst painting I have also been listening to this fantastic series on Radio 4 which I really want to share with you as, although they are short programmes, they completely transport you. I am not really the Radio 4 type, but my mum was kind enough to draw my attention to this wonderful little programme on Virginia Woolf's walks. I myself am a walker. I could walk all day if I didn't feel so concerned about wasting my time all of the time. Walking is always my activity of choice when I have a day off. Even if I am stuck in London, I will walk. When I was looking for a place to rent in the city 5 years ago I remember I walked from Kew to Brick Lane as the crow flew, along a fictitious equatorial line, I sliced the city in half. It took a while, but it was one of the best things I could have done at the time as I found my bearings and with that, my confidence. 

So here is the link to the programme on the BBC. What I find particularly remarkable is that her walks are EXACTLY where mine have been, minus a stint I did in Edinburgh. We have London... Granada... Cornwall and Sussex. Remarkable. 

Flock of pigeons in flight - taken on my walk today near Santa Fe, Granada, Spain

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